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Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri

Love Story - 1979

synthetic polymer paint on cotton duck
95.0 x 170.0 cm
EST. $30,000 - $40,000

LOT #39


Holmes a Court Collection, Heytesbury Holdings, WA
Private Collection, USA


Sotheby's, Important Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 24/06/2002, Lot No. 110


Cf. Paintings on the same theme by the artist’s brother Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri include  man’s Love Story, 1978 in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia (see Johnson V, The Art of Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, G +B International, 1994 Pl.21 p75 and Ngarlu Love Story, 1991 (Johnson, 1994 pl.55 p 128 - Lot 49 in this sale)

This painting depicts another aspect of the Love Story that became Clifford Possum’s leitmotif. It is a tale of incestuous lust and the magical spells cast by an old Tjungurrayi man in order to seduce a woman of the wrong skin. To achieve his elicit end he uses sacred songs and a hairstring spindle that he made from his own hair and a pair of thin sticks. Overcome by lust he drops the hair string that he is braiding and it scatters like love on the wind. A whirlwind blows in an attempt to destroy his love magic but it is to no avail. He takes the woman for his own. It is an indiscretion for which he will be eventually punished.

Leura was steeped in ancient lore and, despite his initial reservations, he became one of the four founding members of the Western Desert art movement. He became invaluable to Geoffrey Bardon as friend, assistant, and interpreter. A man of whom Bardon wrote ‘he is my dearest and closest friend in the Western Desert’. While today Clifford Possum is the better known of the two ‘brothers’, Tim Leura is recognised as having been Possum’s spiritual mentor and instrumental in the development of Possum’s talent and technique.